Liesl is an amazing/inspiring/just all around awesome person! As I share photos from her gorgeous maternity session, I’d like to take the opportunity to talk about how we can help ourselves enjoy our own portraits more!
Women are truly beautiful, aren’t they! As a woman, I really don’t enjoy getting in front of the camera -BUT- it’s a must! Especially now that I am a mother of three, and one of them being a little girl. And I really want my daughter to be stronger than all the stereotypes and cruel judgements that we all face every day. Unfortunately, helping her, and myself, build our confidence is not an easy task. So, I would like to take a minute to share some ideas that I use to battle this each day.
- The very top of my list is CRUCIAL……….never, NEVER, put yourself down in front of your children or really anyone for that matter. Why? Because not only is it a learned trait, but it’s often the beginning of the warped perception we have on ourselves. It’s like we see ourselves through one of those mirrors at the circus- dramatically disproportionate! And when we have children, especially daughters, who hear us constantly complaining about our big arms, nose, fat on our belly because we are in fact human, or any other silly complaint- they immediately look at themselves in the mirror and pick out their own flaws because if Mom has them, and is as amazing as she is, then surely I do too!
- Smile. Do it! Go on, smile! Ah, see! You instantly look prettier. Smiling not only releases endorphins, but when you decide to put on a smile, it’s like you are turning on a light that fills the room. Now I don’t mean that we always need to have a big happy grin on our faces. I feel that it is equally important to express other emotions and not ignore our pain. However, on other days, and especially if you’re planning a photo shoot with your spouse or family- smile, HUGE, exercise those muscles, think of things that make you laugh! I often tell my clients to fake laugh (or for kids to make monkey sounds). It helps to cut the ice and bring a natural smile- I’ll give a big loud and silly example and then after we’re both doing our best impressions, the smiles are so genuine!
- Treat yourself. You work hard, you don’t do it often (if ever), you deserve it! For photo sessions I strongly recommend that women get their hair and makeup done- simply because when you’ve bought a new outfit and have beautiful hair and makeup you just feel special! And if you have children, bring a sitter that can help entertain the kids while you and hubby get new photos, and then let your sitter watch the kids while he takes you out to show you off!! You don’t have your portraits taken every day, pay attention to the little details so that you can really treasure them and actually want to put them on your walls, instead of wishing your hair looked better or that you were wearing cuter shoes. Details!
- Talk to a stylist. We are all created so differently, and so are clothes. Often I go shopping for a look that I saw and just adored how the model looked in it but she has a totally different shape than I do. Or maybe that style really isn’t something that I like on me but I loved it on her. Professional stylists are experts at knowing how to find clothes that work for YOU, not the other way around. Don’t feel like you have to go to the gym just so you can wear that dress. Go to the gym because you want to live a long and healthy life. Go to a stylist so that you can wear the right clothes that will accent your beauty.
- Love yourself. It has to start from within. All the tricks out there are helpful, but please understand that you will never love your photos until you love yourself. Contouring makeup, body sliming undergarments, and photoshop will not “fix” you, they will only give you a sense that “if only I was more ……” Love yourself FIRST. It’s that simple. There are lots of ways to start doing this, and I am no expert since I too am working on this, but here are some ideas: Counseling, if you suffer from depression or any kind of trauma, talk to someone about it- and not just your BFF because although she loves you, she doesn’t have all the tools necessary to help you to cope with it. Another one is to find physical qualities that you like about yourself and write them down- a little confession for you, if there is something that I have a hard time feeling confident in, I self talk (or rather shout) in my car when no one is there! It helps, really! One last one, surround yourself with positive people. If there is someone or something that often brings you down, time to clean house. That isn’t easy with people, especially family members, but you can think of reoccurring situations and what to say in order to stand up for yourself. Not to come down on them, but merely to say- I understand that you feel this way but I have chosen to live my life this way, thanks for understanding. They might not like it, but it isn’t your job to keep them happy, and vice versa.
Hopefully there are some tips in there that you can find useful, and share with others! If you have any other suggestions, feel free to comment! I’d love to hear more ways of how we can strengthen ourselves and each other!!